Questions & Answers
This page is a great reference page to save you time in waiting for me to e-mail you back an answer to your question. Many of the questions on this page have been asked by several people. Hopefully by listing those questions, you will be able to find an answer to your question as well. Of course, if your question is not listed below, please send it to me so I can include it here also. I will try my best to get your questions answered as soon as I possibly can. To make it easier I have listed the questions in categories.
Q: When storing my cigars in a humidor, should I leave the cellophane wrappers on or off?
A: You can do either or but please make sure you consider some of the following thoughts. First of all, you need to remember that cigars are like sponges, they absorb whatever is around them in the air. Some people in the industry have told me that cigars can even absorb from one another if a different brand, and especially if they are side by side with flavored cigars. So, first to consider is this, are you going to keep the same brand in that humidor or are you going to mix them up? If you're going to mix them up, then keep them in the cellophane. Second, you can age a cigar with or without the cellophane wrapper. Unless you use cabinet humidors where you can actually store entire boxes of cigars, I recommend leaving the cellophane on the cigars. Why? Because most people are not going to store cigars in desktop humidors long enough to age them, unless that is what they deliberately set out to do. I think it is safe to say that most people who keep a desktop humidor around are regularly smoking the cigars that are in there. Finally, and this to me is the most important point of all. If you ever take your cigars out and about on the town for an after dinner cigar, or to an event of any kind, and you carry those cigars in a case, then keep them in the cellophane. Why? For two reasons. First, it is very easy to destroy or damage a great cigar when it is not in a cellophane wrapper as you take it in and out of a case, a pocket, a briefcase, a purse etc. Even dropping a cigar that is in a cellophane wrapper will most likely sustain little or no damage at all compared to one that hits the ground without cellophane. Nicking them, crushing them, poking them, dropping them, all can cause serious damage if they are not in the cellophane. It's just added protection from having them damaged in transit, if you will. Second, it will help keep the moisture in the cigar a little bit. Let's face it, air is going to get in there one way or another. Anything to do to keep the optimum conditions in place before you want to smoke that cigar will only help. Here's what I do: Now remember I have many boxes stored in cabinet systems. When I open a box, often I will leave the cellophane on about half or so of them, so I can take those out on the town. The unwrapped ones are ready to go when I smoke them at home. In the desktop humidors that are scattered around my house and office, I leave the cellophane on unless of course they didn't come with cellophane wrappers. Bottom line, you do what is best for you. Just remember though, however you are going to store them, store them in a way that keeps them in optimum condition before smoking. That will allow you to enjoy them the most. Amen.
Q: The device in my desktop humidor says 70% but my cigars are actually dry. Have I done something wrong in the way I have stored them?
A: The device in your humidor is called a hygrometer. The problem with many hygrometers is the fact that they are not all completely accurate. Some of them you can actually calibrate. Others you cannot. I think the first thing that needs to happen is getting your cigars back to where you want them so you can really enjoy them when you light one up. First I would say check you humidification device and charge it with propylene glycol to get the right humidity in the humidor. This solution you can get at any fine tobacconist's shop. They will know exactly what you need if you tell them you need to recharge you humidification device in your humidor. Follow the instructions on the bottle. This solution keeps a 70% humidity level in the air of the humidor. As far as the hygrometer is concerned: check to see what it reads after your humidor has been charged a couple of days. It may have moved and you can then learn where it's needle actually points when there is proper humidity in the humidor. Personally, though, I think the way to go is with a digital hygrometer. I have seemed to have had the best luck with them. In fact, I have never had one that caused me any trouble at all. Again your tobacconist is the best resource to find you one that will be best for your needs.
Q: Father H, my neighbor just recently returned from a vacation in Mexico. He brought back a box of cigars that he said were real Cubans. I asked him where he bought them and he said a man hanging around the hotel. I asked him how much he paid for them and he said $200 for the box. Are these really Cuban cigars. I myself have never smoked a Cuban cigar until now. I honestly did not know what all the "talk" is about after smoking the cigar he gave me.
A: My dear friend, (in fact all you people who are reading this) if there is anything you can learn from me about Cuban cigars it is this: THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF SO CALLED CUBAN CIGARS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE FAKES! Since the big boom of cigars returned, many enterprising but very dishonest people have capitalized on taking advantage of many cigar smokers. Yes there is a certain quality that a cigar from Cuba possesses. There is a certain look, there is a certain feel, and in many cases there is a certain taste, all connected to that mystic fact about Cuban lands having all the right ingredients for cigar tobacco: the soil, the rainfall, the winds, the temperature, and on and on just like Napa Valley is great for grapes here in the United States. But all of those great characteristics of a fine Havana can be so quickly spoiled by a counterfeit cigar! If you want a real Cuban cigar then make sure you are getting one from someone who can actually provide it. Get them from a professional tobacconist who knows where he/she got them and can be confident that their own reputation as and expert is on the line. Now I know this is going to be tough here in the United States because of the current embargo. Regardless, don't be too quick to throw money at so called Cuban cigars. If you are fortunate enough to travel abroad and find yourself near a reputable tobacconist, then by all means, go for it. But please be cautious about getting Cuban cigars. People selling fake Cubans do nothing but hurt the cigar industry. If you think you are smoking a Cuban cigar and it doesn't taste right, burn right, etc., then you're not going to be impressed with Cuban cigars. Mind you, they have quality control issues just like everybody else making cigars. No one is perfect at anything. So it may not be a good idea to judge an entire brand of cigars just after one that wasn't all that good when you smoked it. Here's another very important fact to keep in mind. Many of the people that are making quality handmade cigars today outside of Cuba, have likewise perfected their skills and trades. I think it is safe to say that there are plenty of cigars on the Domestic market today, that give Cuban cigars a good run for their money. In fact, I would go so far as to say I think there is an abundance of cigars that can stand right up next to a good Cuban cigar. If you are happy with a cigar brand that you can easily obtain in this country, then be careful not to waste that good money on something that you can't know for sure is actually a Cuban. In others, BUYER BEWARE & PURCHASE AT YOUR OWN RISK if you are not going to use a reputable tobacconist.